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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 28, 2013
India will set up a new fund to support organizations that bring key innovations from the lab to the market, the first such initiative aimed at bridging a major gap that has long limited the Indian research's potential to earn revenue.

Finance minister P Chidambaram also announced tax benefits for companies that invest in setting up technology incubators in higher educational institutions, in his budget presented to Parliament on Thursday.

"While we extol the virtues of science and technology, I think we do not pay enough attention to science and technology for the common man," Chidambaram said, explaining the fund to bring innovations to homes.

Scientists and laboratories at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Indian Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and other top research hubs earn dozens of patents each year on innovations, including many with direct practical applications for citizens.

But scientists and policy makers have long lamented the poor conversion of these intellectual properties into products that reach the market - an indictment of the absence of mechanisms linking educational and research institutions to industry.

The new fund Chidambaram announced - of Rs. 200 cr - will be used to facilitate the journey of these innovations from the lab to the market and homes of consumers.  

Chidambaram announced that the corporate affairs ministry would soon issue a notification allowing companies to claim exemption on taxes till up to 2% of their net average profits by investing this amount on technology incubators in higher educational institutions.